Souhegan hangs on, gets past Milford, 21-12
Souhegan quarterback Tyler Ford had an up-and-down night but he managed to lead the Sabers past archrival Milford on Friday. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Souhegan's Brandon Len celebrates catching a pass for touchdown over the outstretched arms of Milford defender Harrison Urda as Souhegan struck early in the first quarter to put the first points on the scaoreboard. Milford traveled to Souhegan for NHIAA Friday night high school football action. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Souhegan's Brandon Len catches a pass for touchdown over the outstretched arms of Milford defender Harrison Urda as Souhegan struck early in the first quarter to put the first points on the scaoreboard. Milford traveled to Souhegan for NHIAA Friday night high school football action. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
AMHERST — Tyler Ford's Friday night of high school football certainly qualified as up and down.
But it ended well for the versatile senior and his Souhegan of Amherst teammates.
Ford fired two touchdown passes, intercepted a toss on defense, unloaded a booming punt, tossed three picks of his own and lost a fumble. But he busted free down the left sideline for a critical 38-yard score that cemented a 21-12 Division III football win over Milford.
“It wasn't my best game whatsoever. But I just had to think about team play,” Ford said. “The guys picked me up. That's how I can do it.”
Ford's rushing TD capped a seven-play, fourth-quarter drive. It answered Milford's first scoring march set up by the fumble Ford lost.
“I go play by play. I can't think about the last play,” Ford said. “That's why I like playing on both sides of the ball.”
It was late in the second quarter, after Milford's Ian Michaud made a leaping interception, that Ford stepped in front of Harrison Urda's pass through the red zone.
“Our defense stood on their heads tonight and played great football,” said Souhegan head coach Mike Beliveau, whose No. 9-ranked team improved to 6-1 overall (6-0 Division III). “Aside from one big breakdown, they played the rest of the game great.”
The breakdown was a 68-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Mitchell Banuskevich. The quick strike came 18 seconds after Ford's sideline scamper. Urda (1-yard TD) hit his receiver — who also tallied two INTs and several pass break-ups — and watched him motor past the secondary.
Prior to the fourth quarter, however, Milford (5-2, 4-1 Division III) struggled to sustain drives. In the first half, the Spartans did not engineer a drive lasting more than five snaps.
“They controlled the clock. They controlled the tempo. They controlled everything in the first half,” said Milford head coach Keith Jones, who dropped to 1-11 lifetime against the Sabers. “We didn't have the ball. We couldn't stop them.”
The Sabers opened the game with a 12-play scoring drive. The offense sandwiched a fourth-down conversion around a pair of third-down pass plays, the second a 21-yard TD grab by Brandon Len (seven catches, 79 yards). Ryan D'Auteuil (five catches, 61 yards) was also instrumental.
Five seconds into the second quarter, Len caught his second TD pass. Souhegan's offense was on the field for 22 of the game's first 26 offensive snaps.
“Our execution was a little bit off. There were some tough penalties that we took,” Beliveau said. “But we persevered.”